I Can't Lose Weight Because I Have a Slow Metabolism

Metabolism is such a tricky beast.  I have had so many people tell me that they cannot lose weight because of age, slow metabolism, menopause, or other factors.  This post is meant to empower you and also bust some of those myths or thoughts about the reasons why you cannot lose weight.

First things first, WHAT IS METABOLISM?
Metabolism is a balancing act of 2 different activities that occur in your body, the building up and breaking down of energy stores and body tissues.  It breaks down the energy you get from food and turns it into fuel for regular body functioning.

So for example, when you fill up your gas tank you would not put vinegar in your tank.  You would ruin your car and risk having to spend thousands of dollars to fix it. So why on earth would you put foods in your body that are going to slow you down and make you sluggish and foggy.
Start thinking of eating as a way to fuel your body so that you can play with your kids, get your work done, have energy to do the things you want to do without feeling run down and lethargic because you ate a big bowel of pasta and dessert.

The speed of your metabolism or metabolic rate determines how much food you need to consume to maintain a stable weight.  If you find yourself gaining weight, then you are consuming more energy than your metabolism can process and u store unused fuel as fat.  

The state of your metabolism depends not only on how you treat your body right now, but also on the relationship you’ve had with it in the past.  If you’ve followed a weight training program for any period of time, you will likely have an efficient fat burning metabolism.  Your metabolism works for you all the time, even when you aren’t working out. 

If you have dieted for  years, gaining and losing the same weight over and over again it’s more than likely you have interfered with your metabolism, meaning that you bun fuel from food energy at a slow rate, making it more difficult to lose weight.

Yo-yo dieting confuses the body.  When food is scarce your metabolism slows down in response to your reduced caloric intake.  Your body is protecting itself by avoiding starvation, making it less prone to shed excess fat in case you need it for future fuel.  That means when you go on a diet and begin to lose weight, your body revolts, making it harder for you to reach your weight loss goals.

Removing entire food groups from your diet causes you to miss out on essential nutrients.  When u do re introduce them your body clings to them and you gain weight. This is what happens with South Beach diets or cleanses that have you drinking juices for a month.  Your body doesn't know how to handle it because it is programmed in a way to need certain nutrients!  That is why clean eating is the best way to go.  Sure your progress might be slower and steadier, but it will last forever because it is a lifestyle change that you can continue forever.

There are things you can do to speed up your metabolism- it can be retrained to function efficiently again!  Regular resistance training is a key to speeding metabolism.  One pound of muscle burns approximately 25 times more calories than fat.  If you are not overweight, there is more muscle tissue in your body than any other type of tissue.   Muscle demands the most energy, thus your muscle determines the rate at which your body burns energy.  That is why I recommend to my customers that they do a program like Chalean Extreme if they are new to resistance training or P90X if they are more advanced.  This gives you a nice mix between lifting and cardio.  You do not need to do only cardio to get the fat off, it will naturally be burned away as you build muscle!!!

Building muscle increases your metabolic rate.   
Weight training not only stimulates your muscles while you are working out, but for hours afterwards.  Exercise triggers a release of testosterone into the body, a reaction that works to destroy fat.  

Burn it off.  Intense activity is another key factor in maintaining a fast metabolism.  When you are lifting weights, hiking, running really focus on maintaining intensity in your workouts.  In other words, put your mind into the muscle.  You can build more muscle and burn more energy by concentrating on the task at hand instead of starring into space.  Be mentally there; think about your muscles as you lift, this maximizes your results.

Your aerobic workouts don’t need to last forever to deliver results.  You can speed up metabolism with HIIT.  They fire up a sluggish metabolism.  HIIT workouts are high intensity cardio interval training.  So for example Turbofire and Insanity follow this principle.  The workouts are shorter in duration, but they get your heart rate up high for a short period of time then bring it back down.  You cycle this throughout the workout which creates an after burn effect.  Your metabolism is revved up and you burn more calories than a traditional cardio workout.

Food as fuel- the food we eat either stimulates or slams on the breaks with our metabolism.  To maintain a healthy weight you must nourish your body with high quality foods at regular intervals.  When u wait too long you trigger a starvation response in your metabolism, which causes it to slow down.  Eating frequently with a combo of lean protein and complex carbs at each meal prolongs digestion and encourages blood sugar to remain stable between meals.  If you feel tired or lethargic, it’s usually a direct result of unstable blood glucose or insulin levels.  When u eat clean you slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream causing your blood and insulin levels to stabilize, and giving u energy that lasts all day long.

Eating protein increases metabolism.  Eating carbs increases your basal metabolic rate for a short period of time.  This is why you feel tired after a big meal loaded with carbs. You want to think about eating a meal combined with both the protein and complex carb because you want your BMR to begin to rise within one hour.  This increase can last 3 -12 hrs. 

If you want to eat for peak metabolism you have to remove all simple carbs from your diet such as sugar, white flour and processed foods.  Especially chemically charged ones.  Get up right now and look through your cupboards and cabinets.  Cookies, gummi bears, crackers and chips must all end up in your garbage can.  Foods with added sugars, or made with processed white grains and flours have a high glycemic index, and cause a spike in insulin levels, which in turn makes your metabolism slow down.  Throw out white rice, bread and pasta and rely only on complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables for energy.  Eating nutrient dense foods make an enormous and notable difference both in your health and your body.

Menopause and your metabolism
With every advancing year your metabolism declines- the rate is about 10 perfect for every decade.  Studies have shown that over the age of 30, the average person will gain about a pound of fat and lose half a pound of muscle each year if they continue to eat a constant number of calories.  Fortunately, this is not a fate you're forced to accept.
Women- listen up!!! Menopause (also called change of life) is the time in a woman's life when she ceases to ovulate and her period stops entirely.  The average age of menopause is 51, but it can happen earlier or later. It is common for women to experience rapid weight gain during menopause.  In fact, most women will gain 10 to 15 lbs.  This weight tends to accumulate around the abdomen, creating an "apple" shape.  During menopause, women undergo horomone fluctuations that directly impact appetite, metabolism and fat storage, making weight loss more difficult but not impossible.

To combat menopausal weight gain, follow the Eat Clean Principles (eating small meals every three hours, combining lean proteins with complex carbohydrates at every meal, and adding regular exercise and resistance to your routine).  Go to bed early, drink enough water and try to avoid stress-the result will be a healthy lean body for years to come!!

What can you do to avoid midlife weight gain?
1.  Eat Breakfast
2.  Exercise regularly (cardiovascular activity and weight training).
3.  Eat enough protein
4.  Get a good night's sleep
5.  Avoid Alcohol
6.  Drink lots of water
7.  Try to reduce or limit stress (easier said than done!)

Want even more support and guidance, head over to my page and like me on facebook for daily tips and motivation!

Labels: , ,